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Open Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair is an open surgical cardiology procedure used to treat abdominal aortic aneurysm, a condition where blood collects in the aorta near your stomach, causing the aorta to balloon. Aneurysms that get too big may rupture, a potentially fatal situation.

What is Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Surgery?

During abdominal aortic repair surgery, your doctor replaces the weakened aortic with a hollow man-made tube (a graft). The goal of placing the graft is to safely re-route blood past the aneurysm.


Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair can be done through open surgery or a less invasive endovascular procedure called Interventional Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair. Your surgeon will choose the best approach for you.


At Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute of Greater Sacramento, our expert cardiovascular surgeons develop personalized cardiology treatment plans for every patient. Learn more about our expertise and approach to Cardiology Diagnosis and Treatment.

What to Expect During Open Surgery for AAA Repair

During open surgery, a graft replaces the weakened section of aortic wall. Then the aortic wall is wrapped back around the graft. Once in surgery:

  • Your heart doctor makes an incision in your abdomen and gently moves aside your organs to reach the damaged section of the aorta.
  • Next, your doctor opens the aneurysm and cleans out any blood clots.
  • Your doctor sews a hollow tube called a graft to the aorta.
  • The wall of the aorta is wrapped around the graft to protect it. The wall is then sewn up.
  • The incision site is closed with sutures or staples.

Am I a Candidate for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Surgery?

If your aneurysm is small, your heart doctor may recommend a "wait and watch" approach to monitor it. Larger aneurysms will require treatment to repair them so they don't rupture, a potentially life-threatening situation.


The type of repair approach your doctor recommends – open surgery or minimally invasive repair – depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Age
  • Physical health
  • Family history
  • Size and location of aneurysm

An endovascular, or interventional, procedure may be preferred for older and higher-risk patients. Learn more about Interventional Abdominal Aneurysm Repair.